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Fredericksburg-area registrars expect to see more in-person absentee voters this week
Date published: 10/29/2012
In recent weeks, the presidential campaigns--particularly the Democratic one--have been suggesting that supporters not wait until Election Day to vote, but to go ahead and cast their ballots early.
President Barack Obama voted early himself, stopping at his precinct in Chicago last week to cast his ballot, becoming the first sitting president to vote early.
The Obama campaign is pushing for early voting because they say it will bring more people into the process and eliminate many of the Election Day difficulties--finding child care, taking time from work, unforeseen weather issues--that can prevent people from voting.
Virginia doesn't have the same kind of early voting that some states have, but it does have absentee voting, both through the mail and in person. Voters do have to state a reason why they can't vote on Election Day.
But with Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast, the state Board of Elections has urged voter registrars to "be accommodating" to voters who want to vote absentee because of the storm's potential impact on later voting.
While Virginia voters have been able to vote in person absentee for weeks, Saturday was the first weekend day that registrars' offices were open for voting. They'll also be open this Saturday.
Susan Carol was among those voting absentee in Fredericksburg Saturday. She and her daughter, Stephanie Crook, 19, stopped to vote after buying flowers at the farmer's market.
Carol said she will be out of town on Election Day and did not want to miss out on the opportunity to cast her vote. "It's a very important election," she said.
Reshma Parab also voted absentee Saturday.
She said that the issues in the current election cycle are too important not to vote.
"I didn't vote last time," she said. "I felt like I need to have my voice heard."
Also voting absentee in Fredericksburg Saturday was Jimmy Perry. He declined to comment on who he voted for but said, "I believe in women's rights and opportunity for future generations, so that should tell you."
Voter registrar Juanita Pitchford said that the city has been keeping her office updated about the storm.
"Of course we're concerned about voting, but that's nature," she said.